How to Pack for a Holiday Without Sacrificing Style

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It’s finally the time for the holidays!!! If you’re a college student chances are you just have a week (who cares?! It’s a holiday!). If you’re lucky enough to be going away for the week here are a few tips for packing:

1) Pick your style- Choose the kind of look you want (glam, boho, etc). Since my looks are always based on fictional characters, I decide my holiday based on that. Jo’burg has always been a Blair Waldorf place (hello leggings) while I chose to channel my inner Elena Gilbert for Cape Town. The logic behind this was that Cape Town required lots of walking and I wanted to be comfortable.

2) Pick your neutral- Choose a colour that will tie together all your looks. My neutral colour is always black. It doesn’t stain and I have several bags and accessories in black. Pack things in the shade of your neutral so that you automatically have something that matches.

3) Choose basic jewellery- Choose jewellery that can go with any and all of your outfits. This is why choosing a style beforehand is so important- you know precisely what look you’re going for.

4) Use versatile items- Use items that can be mixed up. A dress top can be used with leggings as well as jeans. Voila- one item with two looks.

5) Roll don’t fold- Rolling your clothes instead of folding allows you to store more items.

6) Make a list beforehand- Make a list of what you plan to take before you pack. This ensures that you don’t miss anything out not matter how small. Be sure to take into consideration the weather and any possible changes in the weather (ie if a cold area suddenly has a heatwave, etc).

What are your tips for packing? Are you going anywhere for the holidays? I’d love to know.

Fiction Friday- Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3)

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)Cress by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If it wasn’t for the front cover I would have no idea that this was a retelling of Rapunzel. I may be incorrect but I think that rapunzel was a type of watercress in the original tale. Again, I’m not sure which is why I wasn’t certain if this really was a retelling.Anyway, Cress is a shell whose parents left her to die. Instead she has been saved by the Queen (*cough*evil*cough*) and is now a skilled hacker. Cinder and her gang plan on rescuing Cress but things don’t go as planned.I loved that this book stayed pretty true to the original tale and yet it was such an unpredictable story.

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Amazing Android Apps: SimpleMind

SimpleMind is an app that allows you to create mind maps easily.
This app provides you with a central idea box and then subtopics which you can add more information to.
If you’re a student who learns from mind maps this is a great app to try.
For me, I personally like to use SimpleMind as a sort of brain dump. I gather all my to-do lists, ideas for blog posts and story plot lines on various mind maps. The app has never steered me wrong.
SimpleMind is available for free on the Play store.

Writing Wednesday: Welcome to Delfino- Second Chances

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Catalina
I awoke with a cough. And another. It continued until my throat was sore.
Am I dying? I wondered.
And then I remembered. I was supposed to be dead.
A man rushed over to me with a cup.
“Drink this,” he ordered.
His voice was deep and steady. Had he saved me? Why?
My coughing refused to stop so I sat up in bed and took a sip of the drink. It was sweet and cool. I drank it all eagerly.
“Better?”
I nodded before turning my full attention to the stranger. He had brown hair and intense brown eyes. They reflected no emotion.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Lucas.”
“You saved me.”
“Yes.”
“I didn’t want to be saved.”
Lucas shifted.
“I apologise.”
I replayed my suicide attempt in the back of my mind. My poor Stella. I needed her. She needed me. Focus. You can’t break down now.
“Thank you for your help but I need to leave. My family will be looking for me.”
Lucas grabbed my hand before I could leave the bed.
“You have no family.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I do, Catalina.”
I pulled my hand out of his grip. I felt uneasy.
“How do you know my name?”
“I asked around.”
I edged away.
“Catalina, you lost alot of blood. There was no way to save you.”
“But you did,” I said.
“Not without a price. Catalina, you’re a vampire.”
I stiffened. No. No no no no no.
My gaze fell on the cup he had given to me earlier.
“That was blood.”
“You’ve heard the stories?” Lucas sounded surprised.
“Of course I have.”
All of London was amused at the stories of monsters lurking around at night, waiting to drain us of blood. I had never thought that the stories were true.
“There has to be some way to kill me,” I begged. “I can’t live. Please, Lucas!”
I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. I hastily wiped them away.
“You hurt.”
I simply sniffed in response.
“You can turn it off. You can stop it.”
“How?”
“I’ll help you.”
That single small act of kindness from Lucas had repercussions lasting for centuries.

I’m Dying (of Stress)

Last week Friday two very important things came to my attention.
1) I had two assignments due on the same day
2) One of those assignments was actually a test for which I needed a textbook…that I did not have.
Now I’m more than willing to take responsibility for that. Since last year’s class never needed a textbook, I assumed ours was optional. It wasn’t.
So immediately I photocopied the relevant chapters (there were nine by the way) and planned to memorise them before this Thursday (ie less than a week).
I sacrificed my weekend and never went anywhere or did anything without those chapters.
I ate with them. I chilled in bed with them. I even attended a family gathering with my highlighter and notes at my side. I should have known something was wrong. The university is forever changing their mind or doing anything and everything to make my life difficult.
Right after I asked my mother to please copy down the summary of each chapter, the lecturer announced that he would only be testing us on four chapters.
I was pissed. Still am. I’m sleep-deprived, anxious, tired and stressed all because he gave us the wrong chapters initially to learn. Honestly I have no words to describe how annoyed I am.
Yes it’s less work but I could have had a freaking weekend (hello, Rihanna) if he had just spoken up sooner.
This is my last week at campus but omg it’s so damn hard. I can’t sleep at home, I can’t stop sleeping at campus. We’re behind in both of my modules and I have to stress for that upcoming test.
Someone remind me again why I wanted to come to college?

The Importance of a Mental Health Day (and how to take one)

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I’m not sure if I haven’t adjusted to campus yet or if third year is just really hard. It’s become impossible for me for make it through the week and I’m so stressed I feel like I might break down in tears. The last time I felt like this was last year second semester. I responded to those feelings of hopelessness by staying at home for three days(three weekdays btw). Whether you’re working or studying, sometimes you just need a break. Your brain needs breathing space away from all the stress and deadlines. Here are my tips to help you take a mental health day.

1) Ensure that nothing important is happening on your mental health day- I was able to miss those three days of campus because I had already handed my assignments in and I had done all the work already. Making certain that you’re not missing out on anything allows you to spend your day just focusing on you.

2) Speak to the necessary people to take the day off- Whether it’s your employer or your driver, let the relevant people know that you won’t be available. For me this is my lift club so that they know not to pick me up.

3) Make it obvious that you won’t be available… At all- this time is for you to relax and recharge. You’re not going to be able to do that if people are calling or texting you about things that are only going to stress you out more.

4) RELAX- read a book or take a nap. Do whatever is necessary for you to renew your energy. This is your day and it’s all up to you as to how to spend it.

Do you take mental health days off work/school? What do you spend them doing?

Fiction Friday- Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #2)

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While Cinder is trying to escape prison, the story shifts to Scarlet. It isn’t clear precisely what ties them together (until later in the book). Scarlet is looking for her grandmother who she is certain is in danger. Scarlet meets a fighter who offers to help her find her grandmother. But is he friend or foe?
I liked this book but preferred Cinder. I was desperate to learn more about her and her plans for the future. This book sets the scene excellently for the next few books.

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5 Must Reads for 2016

Hey everyone! I’m Cait from Cait’s Cozy Corner. I’m a Mom, Wife, Career Woman and what some people may not know, a librarian! That’s right! Although currently I don’t work in a library, I still find my share to read some fascinating novels! If you’re a bookworm like me, I encourage you to join Caits Cozy Book Club where we vote on a book each month to read and then share our review towards the end of the month. We’re currently reading Party Girl by Rachel Hollis and it’s such a fun, light read to get you in the mood for spring.

Speaking of some great reads, I’ve come up with 5 Must Reads for 2016. These of course are all personal ideas of mine but I’d love to hear what you’re reading too! You can stop by my GoodReads page or check me out on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook!

1. Girl Through Glass. It was the summer of 1977 and 11 year old Maria is an inspiring ballerina. While her home holds her parent’s ugly divorce, Maria finds escape in ballet, where he relationship with her much-older mentor intensifies an darkens. In the present day, another dance instructor also becomes entangled in a risky relationship with a student. Weaving together past and present, Girl Through Glass is a complex coming-of-age debut. 



2.Where We BelongHoda not only chats on the Today Show but she also writes novels! In this collection of stories, she writes about various individuals who realize their path was veering off in a direction or unsure of where they truly belonged in the world. By sharing their new passions and what was truly in their heart, they learn how to fulfill a life that we are all striving to have. 

3. Imagine Me Gone. This fast pace novel is a heartbreaking but hilarious chronicle of a family who struggles to love one another amid anxiety and depression. The book helps give us the power to change how we view the most important people in our lives.

4. Pretty Girls. Twenty years ago, Julia vanished without a trace. Claire and Lydia, Julie’as sisters have not spoken since and now their lives could not be more different than one another. Claire is a trophy wife in Atlanta and Lydia is a single mother who struggles to meet ends meet. The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man bring them together. The sisters look to the past to find secrets that could destroy their family and uncover redemption and revenge where they least expect them to be.

5. The Gene. A biography weaving science, history and a narrative to share his story of one of the most conceptual breakthroughs of modern times. Siddhartha’s quest to understand human heredity and the impact and influence it has on our fate, choice, personality and overall lives.

What are some novels you’re excited to read this year?

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Writing Wednesday: The Beginning of the End

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Have you ever felt pain so crippling that it ate at you slowly, piece by piece? Pain that intense can make you crazy. It can make you do things you’d never think of doing before.
I stood on my balcony, looking over at the city of London.
London was beautiful at night and this night was no exception.
I felt a twinge of regret for what I was about to do. I would be spoiling the beauty of London with my act.
But it needed to be done. I could no longer live an existence of pain.
I gripped the railing tightly before climbing over.
I heard a scream from below.
“Somebody is going to jump!”
I was running out of time.
“Mummy’s coming, sweetheart,” I promised my daughter.
And with those words, I pushed myself forward, eager to reunite with my child.
The last thing I felt was the icy air as the ground rose to meet me.

Amazing Android Apps: Book Catalogue

Recently it has come to my attention that I have no idea which books in a series I own or have simply borrowed from somewhere and read. I knew I needed some way to keep track of my books but how?
So I went the one place I believe you can find anything and everything- the Google Play store. I found the Book Catalogue app which allows you to sort out which books you’ve read, owned and want to buy. The app itself looks like a bookshelf.

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It also syncs with your Goodreads account so you can keep track of your Goodreads books too. You can also record what format the book is in (paperback, hardback or ebook) as well as whether or not it’s signed. This book is a must for all book-worms.

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